Beyond Venus & Menus - Which Style of Reception Will Work Best for Your Akron or Canton Wedding?
By Jenny Fiore
In its most general sense, the reception is simply the time after your wedding when you will "receive" your guests. Specifically speaking, it's where you will eat, drink and make merriment. Keep in mind that whatever you serve your guests, you can have it served in a number of ways. That's because caterers and banquet staffs have various connotations of the word reception.
A reception can be with or without a theme; its seating can be configured to encourage mingling or to foster intimacy; and it doesn't necessarily have to include a full meal. Some caterers are full-service caterers (able to provide linens, liquor, table skirts, dinnerware and decorations), while others focus entirely on the food. Most hotel and banquet facilities expect you to shop their in-house menus and will provide a limited selection of trimmings. You will have to do a little interviewing to discover what is out there to fit your specific reception needs, style and budget. Armed with an appetite and some basic information about reception planning, the process can even be fun.
One important consideration is the reception locale. The type of reception service you host is often dictated by the type of space you have reserved. Obviously, it would be impractical to host a buffet in a small or modest-sized room with only space enough for your dining tables. Conversely, that same space may be ideal for a cocktail reception that invites mingling among your guests. A cocktail service can even be the prelude to a meal in another area of the reception site. A popular trend is to have a cocktail hour after the wedding so that the bride and groom have time to take their photographs while the guests relax and enjoy themselves.
Speaking of cocktails – or any alcohol, for that matter – it's important to ask whether your caterer can and will provide beer, wine and liquor. Some do not have the necessary licenses. Additionally, your reception site may have restrictions on alcohol. An experienced caterer will know if those restrictions exist and will be able to incorporate them into your plans.
In fact, an experienced caterer will usually be familiar with the general workability of popular reception sites. They'll be knowledgeable about the prep staff's access to water, electrical power, and the dining hall from the kitchen (if a kitchen is even available), as well as various facility restrictions such as those pertaining to capacities and decorations. Ideally, your caterer will have an existing and good relationship with staff at the reception site of your choice. You can find out by asking both parties.